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Explosions rock Baghdad, mortar kills hospital worker
Updated: 2004-10-16 15:58

Mortar attacks hit a central Baghdad hospital Saturday, killing a hospital worker and injuring three others, hospital officials said.

A mortar round exploded in the garden of Ibn al-Betar hospital just after a blast in the parking lot of the nearby al-Mansour Hotel, killing one worker and injuring three others, a hospital official said under condition of anonymity.

The explosion, which occurred shortly after 9 a.m. (0600 GMT), created a crater in the ground and shattered the building's windows, he said.

"Thank God it fell in the garden or else we would have been in serious trouble,'' he said. "Also thank God, there were no patients at the hospital today because we were undergoing renovation. We were just planning on reopening today.''

Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman of the Interior Ministry said a mortar round hit the parking lot of al-Mansour Hotel, where some foreign journalists and diplomats stay. There were no reports of casualties there.

The explosion shattered glass in the lobby, said Bian Zhiqiang, interim charge d'affairs for the Chinese Embassy, which is located inside the hotel. Bian's comment was cited on Xinhuanet.com, the Web site of China's official government news agency.

US officials have been bracing for a wave of insurgent violence with the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began Friday.

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